« EelmineJätka »
formity with times and places, but more especially with the various wants of the faithful.
We have ample testimony in Origen, Athenagoras, Theophilus, Justin, and Tertullian, that the primitive Christians held temples and altars in abomination; and that, inot merely because they could not in the beginning obtain permission from the government to build temples, but because they had a real aversion for évery thing which seemed to imply any affinity with other religions. This abhorrence subsisted among them for two hundred and fifty years, as is proved hy the following passage of Minutius Felix, who lived in the third century. Addressing the Romans, he says
“ Putatis autem nos occultare quod colimus, si delubra et aras non habemus. Quod enim simulacrum Deo fingam, quum, si rectè existimes, sit Dei homo ipse simulacrum? quod templum ei exstruam, quum totus hic mundus, ejus opere fabricatus, eum capere non possit? et quùm homo latiùs maneam, intrà unam ædiculam vim tantæ majestatis includam? nonnè meliùs in nostrà dedicandus est mente, in nostro imo consecrandus est pectore?”.
“ You think that we conceal what we adore, because we have neither temples nor altars. But what shall we erect like to God, since man himself is God's image? What temple shall we build for him, when the whole world, which is the work of his hands, cannot contain him? How shall we inclose the power of such majesty in one dwelling-place? Is it not better to consecrate a temple to him in our minds and in our hearts?"
The Christians, then, had no temples until about the comniencement of the reign of Díoclesian. The Church had then become very numerous ; and it was found necessary to introduce those decorations and rites which, at an earlier period, would have been useless and even dangerous to a slender flock, long despised, and considered as nothing more than a small sect of dissenting Jews.
It is manifest that, while they were confounded with the Jews, they could not obtain permission to erect
temples. The Jews, who paid very dear for their synagogues, would themselves have opposed it; for they were mortal enemies to the Christians, and they were rich. We must not say, with Toland, that the Christians, who at that time made a show of despising temples and altars, were like the fox that said the grapes were sour. This comparison appears as unjust as it is impious, since all the primitive Christians, in so many different countries, agreed in maintaining that there was no need of raising temples or altars to the true God.
Providence, acting by second causes, willed that they should erect a splendid temple at Nicomedia, the residence of the emperor Dioclesian, as soon as they had obtained that sovereign's protection. They built others in other cities; but still they had a horror of tapers, lustral water, pontifical habits, &c.; all this pomp and circumstance was in their eyes no other than a distinctive mark of paganism. These customs were adopted under Constantine and his successors, and have frequently changed.
Our good women of the present day, who every Sunday hear a Latin mass, at which a little boy attends, imagine that this rite has been observed from the earliest ages, that there never was any other, and that the custom in other countries of assembling to offer
up prayers to God in common, is diabolical and quite of recent origin. There is, undeniably, something very respectable in a mass, since it has been authorised by the Church ; it is not at all an ancient usage, but is not the less entitled to our veneration.
There is not, perhaps, a single ceremony of this day which was in use in the time of the Apostles. The Holy Spirit has always conformed himself to the times. He inspired the first disciples in a mean apartment; he - now communicates his inspirations in St. Peter's at Rome, which cost several millions-equally divine, however, in the wretched room, and in the superb edifice of Julius II. Leo X. Paul III. and Sixtus V.*
* See PRIMITIVE CHURCH.
AMAZONS. BOLD and vigorous women have been often seen to fight like men. History makes mention of such ; for without reckoning Semiramis, Thomyris, or Penthesilea, who, perhaps, existed only in fable, it is certain that there were many women in the armies of the first caliphs.
In the tribe of the Homerites, especially, it was a sort of law, dictated by love and courage, that in battle wives should succour and avenge their husbands, and mothers their children.
When the famous chief Derar was fighting in Syria against the generals of the emperor Heraclius, in the time of the caliph Abubeker, successor to Mahomet, Peter, who commanded at Damascus, took thither several women, whom he had captured, together with some booty, in one of his excursions; among the prisoners was the sister of Derar. Alvakedi's Arabian History, translated by Ockley, says that she was a perfect beauty, and that Peter became enamoured of her, paid great attention to her on the way, and indulged her and her fellowprisoners with short marches. They encamped in an extensive plain, under tents, guarded by troops posted at a short distance. Caulah (so this sister of Derar's was named) proposed to one of her companions, called Oserra, that they should endeavour to escape from captivity, and persuaded her rather to die than be a victim to the lewd desires of the Christians. The same Mahometan enthusiasm seized all the women ; they armed themselves with the iron-pointed staves that supported their tents, and with a sort of dagger, which they wore in their girdles; they then formed a circle, as the cows do when they present their horns to attacking wolves. Peter only laughed at first; he advanced towards the women, who gave him hard blows with the staves; after hesitating for some time, he at length resolved to use force; the sabres of his men were already drawn, when Derar arrived, put the Greeks to flight, and delivered his sister and the other captives.
Nothing can more strongly resemble those times called heroic, sung by Homer. ' Here are the same single combats at the head of armies, the combatants frequently holding a long conversation before they commence fighting ;-and this, no doubt, justifies Homer.
Thomas, governor of Syria, Heraclius's son-in-law, made a sally from Damascus, and attacked Sergiabil, having first prayed to Jesus Christ.
“ Unjust aggressor,” said he to Sergiabil, “ thou canst not resist Jesus, my God, who will fight for the champions of his religion.” “ Thou tellest an impious lie,” answered Sergiabil; “ Jesus is not greater before God than Adam. God raised him from the dust; he gave life to him as to another man, and, after leaving him for some time on the earth, took him up into heaỹen." After some more verbal skirmishing, the fight began, Thomas discharged an arrow, which wounded young Aban, the son of Saib, by the side of the valiant Sergiabil; Aban fell and expired; the news of his death reached his young wise, to whom he had been united but a few days before ; she neither wept nor complained, but ran to the field of battle, with a quiver at her back, and a couple of arrows in her hand ; with the first of these she killed the Christian standardbearer; and the Arabs seized the trophy, crying Allah achar! with the other she shot Thomas in the eye, and he retired, bleeding, into the town.
Arabian history is full of similar examples; but they do not tell us that these warlike women burned their right breast, that they might draw the bow better, nor that they lived without men; on the contrary, they exposed themselves in battle for their husbands or their lovers'; from which very circumstance we must conclude that, so far from reproaching Ariosto and Tasso for having introduced so many enamoured female warriors into their poems, we ought to praise them for having delineated real and interesting manners.
* Such was the belief of the Mahometans. The doctrine of the Basilidian Christians was long current in Arabia. The Basilidians believed that Christ had not been crucified.
When the crusading mania was at its height, there were some Christian women who shared the fatigues and dangers of their husbands. To such a pitch, indeed, was this enthusiasm carried, that the Genoese women undertook a crusade of their own, and were on the point of setting out for Palestine to form petticoat battalions; they had made a vow so to do, but were absolved from it by a pope, who was wiser than themselves.
Margaret of Anjou, wife to the unfortunate Henry VI. king of England, evinced, in a juster war, a valour truly heroic; she fought in ten battles to deliver her husband. History affords no authenticated example of greater or more persevering courage in a
She had been preceded by the celebrated Countess De Montfort, in Brittany. “ This princess," says D'Argentré, “was virtuous beyond the nature of her sex, and valiant beyond all men; she mounted her horse, and managed him better than any esquire; she fought hand to hand, or charged a troop of armed men like the most valiant captain; she fought on sea and land with equal bravery, &c.” She went, sword in hand, through her states, which were invaded by her competitor Charles de Blois. She not only sustained two assaults, armed cap-à-pie, in the breach of Hennebon, but she made a sortie with five hundred men, attacked the enemy's camp, set fire to it, and reduced it to ashes.
The exploits of Joan of Arc, better known as the Maid of Orleans, are less astonishing than those of Margaret of Anjou and the Countess De Montfort. These two princesses having been brought up in the luxury of courts, and Joan of Arc in the rude exercises of country life, it was more singular, as well as more noble, to quit a palace for the field, than a cottage.
The heroine who defended Beauvais was perhaps superior to her who raised the siege of Orleans; for she fought quite as well, and neither boasted of being a maid, nor of being inspired. It was in 1472, when